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Customers Typology: The Good The Bad and The Ugly Part 2: The Bad


 Image source: Wikipedia

The first part of the trilogy was about the Good Customer. This post is about the Bad Customer.
No, the Bad Customer does not shoot the Consultant like Lee Van Cleef in the picture appearing in the beginning of the post. 

The Bad Customer could be The Customer who Knows Everything or The Self-deprecating Customer or The Captive or The Paralyzed Analyzer.

What differentiate The Bad from other Customers?
Usually, The Bad Customer does not know what he want to achieve and how he would achieve it. He is not able to define the Consultant's products.

The Bad Customer could ask Strategic Consultant to code programs. He may ask a Consultant who is a DBA or an Application Programmer to build an Enterprise Architecture, Infrastructure Architecture or even Business Architecture. He could as well, ask for Strategic consultancy from an ERP Consultant. 

The Bad may change the Consultant's assignments, every week or every two weeks, even if no product was yet completed.

maybe the Consultant will earn money, but if he is thinking of helping a customer to build effective IT systems, he should look for another customer. 

In addition for lack of satisfaction, the Consultant face another Concern: Should the Bad client be named as a reference? well even if he will praise the Consultant, it is a bad idea to name him as a reference. 
If the potential client will ask: What Value was provided by the Consultant's work? the Bad Customer will remain silent.

Cooperating with The Bad Customer?
 In many cases it is impossible to change The Bad operation mode and his attitude.
In that case the choice is between adapting to his way or stop working with him.  

The third choice is to avoid of doing anything out of the Consultant's expertise.
The Bad Customer probably will fire the Consultant, but he will not, the Consultant could provide some Value to the Bad Customer's organization.

Changing the Bad Customer's approach may require skills in Psychology or Training, which are outside of most Consultant's expertise.

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More Stories By Avi Rosenthal

Ari has over 30 years of experience in IT across a wide variety of technology platforms, including application development, technology selection, application and infrastructure strategies, system design, middleware and transaction management technologies and security.

Positions held include CTO for one of the largest software houses in Israel as well as the CTO position for one of the largest ministries of the Israeli government.